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Non-emergency dispatch: (440) 238-7373
Police offices: (440) 580-3230
News and Updates
Police Warn Residents of Utility Worker Scam
Strongsville police are warning residents not to let strangers into their homes after a house was burglarized April 15.
The incident is a scam that makes the rounds every year and involves a visitor -- often posing as a contractor -- distracting a resident while an unseen accomplice steals from the home.
In this case, a man claiming to be a utility worker knocked at a resident's door about 4 p.m. and told the woman a nearby septic tank had broken and he had to check her basement for damage.
The man said it was company policy that the resident accompany him to the basement.
Shortly after he left, the woman discovered her jewelry box was open and several pieces were missing. Detective Lt. John Janowski said an accomplice had slipped into the house while the resident was in the basement and grabbed any valuables he could find.
Similar incidents were reported this week in some east-side communities like Wickliffe and Willoughby.
The Strongsville resident never saw the accomplice. The man who came to the door was described as Hispanic and short. He was wearing jeans, a polo shirt and a cap, and was carrying a walkie-talkie.
Janowski said residents who are approached by anyone claiming to be a contractor should not let the person in their house and should call police immediately at (440) 238-7373.
Also, residents should not follow an alleged contractor outside, he said. Con artists also ask residents to accompany them outside to view alleged damage to a roof, tree or fence; once the resident is distracted, an accomplice runs inside and steals valuables.
Think Your Kids are Safe? These Summer Reminders May Save a Life
How long can a child be left in a car on a summer day? Do you know why summer is called “trauma season?” What sends more kids to the hospital than any other non-fatal injury?
Strongsville Police want kids to be safe this summer. That’s why we’re sharing a safety tip sheet with reminders for parents about how to keep children safe, with information on everything from hyperthermia to pools to grills.
Turn in Unneeded Prescription Drugs April 26
Strongsville will again participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 26.
Residents can turn in unneeded prescription medication (pills only; no liquids) at the Strongsville Police Station between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Police will set up a collection area in the parking lot.
“You don’t even have to get out of your car,” Sgt. Mike Grywalsky said.
Turning in unneeded drugs keeps them from falling into the wrong hands, and also from polluting waterways.
Registration Dates Set for Safety Town
Children entering kindergarten in the fall are invited to attend Safety Town, a police department program that delivers valuable safety lessons.
Parents can register their children IN PERSON at the Ehrnfelt Recreation and Senior Center on two dates:
9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 26
5-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 7
A nonrefundable fee of $40 (cash or check payable to City of Strongsville) is due at the time of registration.
There are three Safety Town sessions in June and several times available. Click here for a printable registration form.
Strongsville Police Thank Community for Help Finding Missing Boy
Strongsville Police launched an intensive search late March 19 after a 13-year-old boy with special needs was reported missing from his Collier Drive home.
After the call came in about 10:30 p.m., both the afternoon and night shifts spread out into the neighborhoods and wooded areas to look for the youth. A police dog was called in to search several areas.
Police also put out a reverse 911 call to ask residents in a 2-mile radius to be on the lookout for the boy, which resulted in a number of neighbors joining the search with flashlights, on foot and on bicycles.
Strongsville firefighters also helped, offering the department's Flare Goggles for officers to use in the dark. Firemedics also used their trucks to light dark areas.
On the advice of the firemedics, police activated a countywide search, but before the search team arrived, the boy came out of hiding and rang a doorbell on Winding Trail about 1:12 a.m.
He was returned home safely.
"This is another excellent example of the positive police relationship with our community: working together to find this child," Deputy Chief Mark Fender said. "Our supervisors utilized multiple resources and resulted in the child being found. We are proud of all these officers, dispatchers, firefighters and our community."
Owl Rescued with Help from Passerby, Police and Animal Warden
A motorist called police shortly after midnight March 8 after finding an owl in the middle of Eastland Road. Officers called in Animal Warden Mike Roth, who scooped up the injured barred owl, kept it for the night and took it later that day to the Medina Raptor Center.
Roth said the adult male owl had blood around its eye, and was probably hit by a car. The experts at the Raptor Center said they will treat him with antibiotics, pain medication and an eye ointment, and believe he will recover.
Roth, who also rescued an injured great horned owl last year, said when this owl is healthy again, he will retrieve it from Medina and bring it back to its home in Strongsville for a return to the wild.
“We’ll release it in the same spot we found it,” he said.
Police Arrest Suspect in South-End Burglaries
A 24-year-old Princeton Circle man is facing charges in connection with two home break-ins in February.
Greg Kachmarik, 24, 17890 Princeton Circle, has been indicted on charges of attempted burglary and possession of criminal tools in relation to an attempted break-in on Whispering Pines Feb. 15, and with receiving stolen property in connection with a burglary on Ellsworth Drive Feb. 16.
Police are also looking at a possible connection to two other burglaries in the area, Detective Lt. John Janowski said – one on Princeton Circle Feb. 11 and one on Westminster Drive Feb 17.
Janowski said police were able to trace Kachmarik through stolen items he allegedly pawned at an area shop. A witness in the attempted break-in was also able to identify him, he said.
Police Nab Thief in the Act of Breaking into Vehicles
Some good legwork on the part of two Strongsville police officers led to the arrest of a man believed to have broken into at least 10 vehicles in the Hunting Meadows neighborhood.
A resident on South Meadows Circle called police about 12:30 a.m. Feb. 28 to report a man had walked up his driveway.
Two officers parked on Lanier Avenue and walked through yards, eventually spotting a pickup truck on Hunting Meadows Drive with its interior light on and someone inside. They approached the vehicle to find the suspect trying to remove the stereo, Detective Lt. John Janowski said.
Daniel Vilamaa, 20, of 17036 Hunting Meadows Drive, was taken into custody. Police found in his possession two iPods, a Hungarian $1,000 bill, prescription medication, a folding knife, a small amount of marijuana and a pipe, Janowski said.
Later that day, police executed a search warrant at Vilamaa’s home and found a gun that had been reported stolen from a car on Feb. 23, as well as a laptop computer and other items.
He has been charged with a felony for having the stolen gun, as well as eight misdemeanors – receiving stolen property, trespassing, theft from a yard, criminal damaging, possession of criminal tools, a weapons violation (for the knife), and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Janowski said police recovered several car stereos that have not yet been reported stolen. Anyone missing a car stereo can call police at (440) 580-3230.
Be Aware of the 'Computer Virus' Scam
A Strongsville resident may have recently become a victim of a scam in which a caller offers to "fix" your computer over the phone.
Here's how it works: A caller claims to be from Microsoft or a similar company and says you have a virus on your computer.
He asks you to turn on the computer and walks you through steps to fix it.
"You're actually giving someone access to your computer," Detective Lt. John Janowski said.
The hacker looks for information like passwords and bank account numbers on the hard drive. Even worse, he can install a program that steals new information as you enter it.
If you get a call like that, decline the fix and hang up, no matter how sincere or knowledgeable the caller sounds, Janowski said.
"Don't let anyone have access to your computer," he said.
Police Seek Residents' Help in Tracking Down Burglar
Strongsville Police are asking residents to be on the lookout for a man believed to be responsible for three home break-ins and one attempted burglary in the south part of town since Feb. 11.
The burglaries are taking place during the day. Police say the suspect parks his car, then walks through back yards and breaks in through a rear window.
“We’re asking people to be vigilant,” Deputy Chief Mark Fender said. “Look out your back window, look around when you’re driving in your neighborhood, and if you see a vehicle that doesn’t look like it belongs, call the police.”
To report a suspicious person, call (440) 238-7373.
Police Warn of Overpayment Scam
A Strongsville man sold some chairs on Craigslist.com last month, but got a surprise when the buyer sent the check. Instead of the $400 asking price, the check was for $2,500.
The buyer said it was a mistake and asked the resident to send back the extra money right away.
Good thing he didn’t: It was a scam. In this all-too-common con, a trusting person quickly returns the money – then finds out a few days later the buyer’s check was fraudulent.
“Never send any money from your own account,” Detective Lt. John Janowski warns residents. “Nobody sends that much extra money by mistake.”
IRS Fraud is On the Rise
Last week alone, two Strongsville residents got bad news from the IRS when they sent in their tax returns -- someone else had already filed a return using their Social Security number.
It's a growing problem, the IRS reports. In fiscal year 2013, the IRS initiated 1,492 identity theft-related investigations, an increase of 66 percent over 2012.
On the positive side, indictments and convictions doubled, with the average defendant sentenced to 38 months in prison.
If you believe your identity has been used fraudulently with the IRS, contact the agency to fill out a Form 14039.
Alert employees of Republic Waste Services called police Feb. 5 after noticing that an elderly customer on their route failed to leave her trash cans at the curb.
The workers said the woman never misses putting out her trash and were concerned about her well-being.
Police were able to reach the woman -- and happily, she was fine.